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Brooklyn Center mayor: Maybe cops don't always need guns

(WABC7 via AP)

The Mayor of Brooklyn Center, the Minneapolis suburb where Daunte Wright was shot and killed by a police officer on Sunday, is clearly trying to demonstrate that he’s actively working to “do something” to appease the crowds of rioters who have taken to the streets every night since then. In addition to sheparding through preparations to charge the officer in the shooting in a matter of days, Mayor Mike Elliott held a press conference yesterday where he suggested that some “reforms” to police protocols might be in order. Unfortunately, one of his first suggestions was to say that perhaps police don’t really need to be armed when they’re on traffic duty. This statement will no doubt draw rave reviews from the Abolish the Police crowd, but it’s going to leave his police force feeling pretty much abandoned. (Washington Examiner)

The mayor of the Minnesota town where a 20-year-old black man was recently shot and killed while in police custody says he doesn’t believe police always need to carry weapons.

“I don’t believe that officers need to necessarily have weapons every time they’re making a traffic stop,” Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, Mayor Mike Elliott said during a press conference Tuesday in response to the shooting death of Daunte Wright on Sunday.

Body camera footage shows a struggle between Wright and police officers as he is being arrested, and Wright at one point attempts to flee in his car as an officer yells, “Taser! Taser!” moments before Wright is shot with a handgun.

Mayor Elliott is far from the first person to suggest either disarming the police while they are on traffic patrol or replacing them entirely with civilians carrying clipboards instead of firearms. That idea has been brought up in a serious fashion in nearby Minneapolis, where George Floyd died during a police encounter. It’s also been proposed in Seattle and Portland, as well as Los Angeles, just to name a few others. The response from the police is always the same, suggesting that these elected bureaucrats really don’t know the first thing about how policing actually works.

It’s always hard to come up with the words to describe precisely what an awful idea this is. The police know this all too well, but the Woke Brigades don’t seem to want to listen. The recent police encounter with Daunte Wright, while it should absolutely not have ended with a shooting, is ironically one of the better examples of precisely why the police need to be armed while on the job.

It remains true that the vast majority of traffic stops result in nothing more than an annoyed driver and the issuance of either a ticket or a warning. In all of those cases, officers have no reason to draw a weapon. But it’s the remaining few stops that most officers eventually encounter that sink this theory of disarming the police. If you pull over a car and someone like me is driving, I’m going to hand over my license, address the policeman as “Officer,” and say “thank you” after they give me a ticket for whatever bonehead error I made. But if the driver of the car is someone with significant outstanding warrants for violent crimes who knows that they’ll be leaving for a long stretch behind bars if they are taken into custody, the situation changes. If they are armed themselves, the stakes rise to a potentially deadly level.

At a moment like that, a clipboard isn’t going to help you unless it’s got a bulletproof plate on the back. While there’s no indication that Daunte Wright was armed or had convictions for violent crimes, he did have outstanding warrants, including one for a gun crime. That understandably put the officers on edge. Granted, if none of them had been armed with guns, Wright wouldn’t have been shot and killed. But he probably would have fled in his car (which he was trying to do when the shooting took place) leading to a high speed chase. How that would have ended is anyone’s guess.

The officer who shot Wright is off of the force and will soon be facing charges. Punishing the rest of the police by placing them in additional danger isn’t going to solve anything and it won’t bring Daunte Wright back.